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Prevalence and correlates of service utilization and help seeking in a national college sample of female rape victims

NCJ Number
Journal of Anxiety Disorder Volume: 24 Issue: 8 Dated: December 2010 Pages: 900-902
Date Published
December 2010
3 pages

This article reports on research that examined the prevalence of distinct categories of help-seeking behavior, using a national college sample of female rape victims, including demographic, rape history, incident characteristics, psychopathology, and substance abuse variables in relation to formal help-seeking.


This study examines prevalence and correlates of help seeking for emotional problems among undergraduate female rape victims. A national college sample of women endorsing a lifetime history of rape were interviewed in 2006 to assess demographic characteristics, rape history, rape characteristics, psychopathology, and substance abuse. Participants were asked if they ever sought help for emotional problems, and what type(s) of services were sought (medical professional, religious figure, or mental health professional). The prevalence of help seeking was 52 percent. Of help-seekers, 93 percent went to a mental health professional, 48 percent went to a medical doctor, and 14 percent sought religious counsel. Only PTSD was related to ever seeking help. Findings suggest that university-based mental health and medical facilities should be well prepared to identify and treat PTSD and other rape-related sequelae. Health promotion campaigns are needed to target substance abusing and depressed rape victims, who were less likely to seek help. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: December 1, 2010